This month we profile Barb Trammell, PGA. She served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Oregon Golf Association (OGA) from 2007 until her recent retirement this July. Trammell has also held a variety of roles within the golf world including VP of Tournament operations for the LPGA and was one of the first women to be invited to officiate the four majors. Read on to find out more, as well as what’s next in the future!

Photo by Portland Oregon Photographer Craig Mitchelldyer 503.513.0550

Facility: Oregon Golf Association

Hometown: I currently live in Portland, but when I get asked “where are you originally from?” I always respond with – I moved around a lot growing up, so I have lived in many different cities and states and don’t really have a “hometown.” . . . such as: Pittsburgh, PA, Buffalo, NY, Akron, OH, Richmond, VA, Jackson, MS and Nashville, TN just to name a few!

PGA Member Since: 1985

How did you get started in your golf career and who were your mentors?

After I graduated from the University of Alabama (where I played on the golf team), I had an opportunity to become the women’s golf coach at Mississippi State University as well as work as assistant pro at the University Golf Course at the same time. It was there that I first interviewed to join the PGA as an apprentice and begin my work towards PGA membership. I would say that one of my mentors was Ken Lindsay, a former Past President of the PGA of America, who was the one who got me into learning and studying the Rules of Golf and who eventually introduced me to my second mentor, Suzanne Jackson, then the Tournament Director for the LPGA who hired me when I joined the Tour in 1987 – that started my Rules officiating career for the next couple of decades!

You served as CEO of the OGA since 2007 and have been a high-impact leader in the growth of the game in Oregon, and the Northwest as a whole. A big achievement is establishing and leading the Golf Alliance of Oregon. Which of your growth of the game initiatives are you the most proud?  

I am proud of the wonderful collaboration that has been developed between all the entities that make up the Golf Alliance of Oregon and the fact that we have been able to educate our state government about the positive impact of the golf industry in the state of Oregon. In terms of growth of the game initiatives, I am proud that the OGA was proactive in expanding the playing opportunities we provide that goes well beyond elite championship golf. We established the OGA Tour – popular one day competitions (net and gross) for all skill levels and the Women’s Interclub Play program (women’s team play for both public and private clubs).  We were the first golf association to partner with Northern California Golf Association to bring the Youth on Course program to Oregon – which provides subsidies to participating facilities for providing rounds of golf to kids at $5 greens fees. We also created the Passport program which offers preferred rates at over 70 golf courses in our region, providing access and affordability to those who like to travel and experience new courses in Oregon and SW Washington.

You were Sr. VP of Tournament Operations for the LPGA and one of the first women to be invited to officiate the 4 majors. What advice do you have for PGA Professionals regarding growing the game of golf inclusive of women? 

Although the women’s game has certainly grown and expanded its reach over the years, we still have work to do with making women feel welcome at golf courses and with participating in organized events. It’s not enough just to create a dedicated women’s initiative and put it out into the community. The “build it and they will come” mentality does not work with women. We like to be invited. A personal phone call to proactively reach out with an invitation to join a group, a club or an event goes the extra mile to make someone feel included – and wanted! As far as getting more women (as well as other diverse demographics) into career positions in golf, there must be a concerted effort to provide opportunities specifically for those individuals. If you have an open position, think of ways to reach qualified candidates who are diverse and could bring a perspective to your staff that you currently do not have.

What do you see in your future, or in the future of golf in the Northwest? 

With retirement on the near horizon for me, I look forward to finding my next chapter – and staying involved with golf will no doubt be a part of that. Golf has given me so much in my life and I am grateful for all the opportunities it has provided me. “Paying it Forward” is definitely part of the plan for my future. Golf in the Northwest will continue to expand, become more popular than it is right now. Riding the wave of post-pandemic popularity, PGA professionals have the opportunity to make an impact on so many levels by ensuring we promote and advocate the game to all who aspire to learn and play it and by making it a welcoming experience for all.